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Pluralistic Counselling & Psychotherapy

Developed in conjunction with Visiting Professor John McLeod, this programme aims to enable existing professionals working within the field of counselling and psychotherapy to achieve a Master of Arts in Pluralistic Counselling and Psychotherapy.

A pluralistic perspective is an integrative approach to Counselling and Psychotherapy that embraces and considers multiple causes and responses to psychological distress. The aim of the programme is to equip practitioners with an up-to-date, cutting edge training to meet the needs of contemporary society. It also aims to identify and develop leadership and collaborative qualities in those involved in therapeutic practice. With a strong research focus, graduates from this programme will have the necessary knowledge, skills and competence to act as research-practitioners.

The programme aims to enable graduates to analyse their own practice and the profession as a whole. We strive to facilitate learners in the creation of evidence-based solutions to the current problems they face as individual practitioners and dilemmas that exist within the profession. As pluralism is the unifying theme in the programme, the programme will foster a spirit of enquiry where learners will engage in the pursuit of multiple truths, drawing from diverse disciples, approaches and orientations.

Who Should Apply

This two year programme will be of interest to practising therapists who wish to extend their existing qualification in counselling and psychotherapy to Master's level.


This part-time programme consists of ten modules over two years. It is a taught Master's with a strong research component. The programme utilises a continuous assessment strategy and learners accumulate credits though a variety of assessments over the duration of the programme. The programme is facilitated through monthly three/four day blocks (usually Thursday/Friday – Sunday).

Student Benefits & Support

We hold that it is not enough to simply teach the skills of counselling and psychotherapy. Learners are given the space to learn, practice and be supported as they develop for themselves a style and model of counselling which is both personal and effective.

Entry requirements

Entry Routes

•An honours degree, Level 8 on The National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ), in counselling and psychotherapy or equivalent and evidence of completion of 50 hours of personal therapy and 100 hours of supervised clinical practice.


•An honours degree, Level 8 on the NFQ, plus a professional diploma in counselling and psychotherapy that meets with IACP /IAHIP course recognition standards. The diploma, or equivalent must have counselling and psychotherapy at its core and have a minimum of 450 hours in tutor/student contact over the duration of the programme.

Learners will be invited to an interview with faculty as part of the application process.


2 years part-time

Delivery: This programme is facilitated through monthly three day blocks (usually Friday to Sunday)

Number of credits

Credits 90 ECTS

Further enquiries

For Course Queries:

Triona Kearns: 086 049 9154

Marcella Finnerty: 086 260 9989

Subjects taught

Programme Structure


This part-time programme consists of ten modules over two years. It is a taught Master's with a strong research component. The programme utilises a continuous assessment strategy and learners accumulate credits though a variety of assessments over the duration of the programme

The programme allows learners to engage in an in-depth analysis of pluralistic counselling and psychotherapy. Pluralism holds that different clients will want and need different things at different times. It considers that there is no one approach.

The programme entails training pluralistic theory and skills, engagement in learning in other approaches (i.e. CBT, ACT, Psychoanalysis). There is a strong focus in practitioner research and an exploration of philosophical and sociological concepts.

The programme contains the following nine modules over the duration of two years.

First Year Modules

A Pluralistic Framework For Counselling And Psychotherapy

•This module examines the philosophical assumptions underlying a pluralistic approach to counselling. This module aims to facilitate the development of:

A structure which provides a new approach to conceptualising counselling and psychotherapy in the context of fundamental debates within social science;

A framework which facilitates the undertaking of empirical research to directly inform practice;

A depth of understanding of, and ability to apply the Pluralistic Framework to guide practice in a coherent and meaningful way; and

An acute awareness of cultural diversity in clients and therapists, and the importance of embracing the range of beliefs which endure regarding healing and change.

Acceptance And Commitment Therapy

•Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is an evidence-based therapeutic approach. ACT balances acceptance and mindfulness-based skills with commitment strategies aimed at helping us move towards what matters most, while practicing acceptance of what is outside our control. The objective of the module is to provide specific training in a contemporary approach to counselling and psychotherapy and to explore its fit with pluralism, neuroscience and client treatment. Learners will be exposed to the six core processes of ACT and, using the framework of Functional Analytic Psychotherapy (FAP), they will explore how the therapeutic relationship can be a primary vehicle for change.

Pluralistic Clinical Skills

•This module aims to provide learners with the opportunity to develop the pluralistic clinical skills which can be applied in their clinical practice. Learners will be required to demonstrate application of these skills in a real-world setting.

The Sociological Context Of Mental Health

•This module aims to give the learner a comprehensive overview of the Sociological Context of Mental Health and Illness. This will enable learners to evaluate and reflect on the value of therapeutic interventions within the wider social context within which these interventions take place. This module will include the key debates within the sociology of mental health and mental illness, and will also look at the wider political and social policy issues which affect a person's access to and use of Counselling and Psychotherapy. This course examines sociological theories and research regarding the definition, experience, and treatment of mental disorders. We also explore how the social environment impacts the symptoms of mental disorders, and how the diagnoses of medical disorders are influenced by social factors. The stigma of mental illness is also addressed, and how Western/Irish culture and the media influence our perceptions of those who are labelled "mentally ill." The overall goal of this module is to increase the learner's theoretical understanding of the sociological context of mental health, increasing capacity to become a reflective practitioner.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

•The purpose of this module is to equip learners with the necessary skills, knowledge and competencies to integrate CBT into their pluralistic practice with clients. Learners will be able to intervene, utilising this framework, applying it to clinical work in a real-world setting.

Advanced Research Methods

•The module provides training in practitioner research that will help develop learners' knowledge and understanding of research methods, research skills and the research literature. It will give students a practical hands-on introduction to the process of counselling and psychotherapy research and an opportunity to develop and refine some of the core skills. It will provide the learner with the knowledge, skills and competence to enable them to carry out master's level research investigations. A key objective of the module is to provide learners with the knowledge, skills and competence to both critically evaluate complex research studies; and to plan and design counselling and psychotherapy research.

Second Year Modules

Philosophical Underpinnings To Counselling And Psychotherapy

•Counselling and Psychotherapy draws upon wider philosophical debates and theories to derive and formulate specific client interventions – this module aims to both inform learners with regard to key relevant philosophical arguments, and also to stimulate debate and in-depth thinking amongst students.

Practice Based Issues In Counselling And Psychotherapy

•The aim of this module to facilitate learners in the identification of practice-based issues that arise in the field of counselling and psychotherapy, as well as the development of practical and research-based solutions.

Research Portfolio

•This module aims to afford learners an opportunity to conduct a piece of independent, self-directed research under supervision. This module is designed to foster and develop a high level of independent research ability and skill, and to further develop student skills in the conduct, presentation and reporting of research. This module also assists students with the intellectual process of conducting a research project by promoting their ability to read widely on a subject, to analyse various arguments and to relate them to their own work.


Award: Master's Degree in Pluralistic Counselling and Psychotherapy (QQI Validated and IACP Accredited)

Assessment method

Learners are assessed through a continuous assessment strategy, which includes a variety of mediums such as individual and group projects, skills training assessments, case studies and process recordings, written assignments, essays and a dissertation.

Course fee

Annual Fees: €3,875

Enrolment and start dates

Starting: 9th October 2020

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